Deadline 30 Apr 2023

Towards a new “aesthetics of war”? Is Polemos still father of all things?

Nearly 77 years of peace, so long was the truce granted by history to our continent, and, actually: this is not even true. Suffice it to think of the war in the former Yugoslavia. It is undeniable, however, that for more than half a century, Europe was lulled into the illusion that armed confrontation had been relegated to certain areas of the planet, or in any case was to be understood as a sort of “in-vitro experiment” having been reduced to a circumscribed phenomenon contained within safety cordons.

On the contrary, the conflict erupted again. Even a century ago, moreover, it might have been reasonable to distinguish between a world war and a strictly local war, while today it does not even make sense: our degree of interconnection inevitably turns every conflict into a war that involves us all. The clash of weapons is perhaps the most intense event in light of which a whole series of elements seem to align differently, and the pieces of our present in an instant take on a new configuration: what emerges is precisely «the now of a certain knowability», to quote Benjamin. 

The focus will consider the following topics:

  • War also brings with it a reconfiguration between different disciplines, altering their relative relationships: which relationships have undergone the greatest transformations? What are the underlying dynamics, at the level of the deep interweaving that characterizes the various forms of knowledge, that war has helped to bring to the surface?
  • In the course of a war, such steady demarcations as the boundaries between one state and another are subjected to great pressure and constant fluctuations. The armed confrontation seems to prompt – also on a philosophical level – new reflections on the role of the “border”, partly evoking also the Kantian polarity between Grenze and Schranke.
  • In light of this fluctuation of the geopolitical notion of boundary at the core of which lies the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, could we argue that the very borders between the conceptual domains of ethics and politics, as well as those between politics and aesthetics, have become fluctuant?
  • War is also a war of propaganda: “war images” today play such a strategic role in communication that they can strengthen or undermine the very figure and reputation of the parties involved. It is a question here of a genuine redefinition and in particular a decisive broadening of the semantic field referred to by the term “aesthetics of war”.
  • To what extent does the current aestheticization of war, which cuts across the very ethical-political distinction between aggressor and aggressed, mark a caesura with respect to the aestheticization of modern or post-modern politics? Or is it still a continuity to be thought of in a more radical way? That continuity which presupposes, as Benjamin definitively grasped, that humanity – in the silence of the ancient gods – has made a spectacle of itself.


Deadline: 30 April 2023

Expected release: June/July 2023

Advisory Editors:

Francesco Valagussa (

Fabrizio Desideri (


Submissions should be made through the usual mask at:

Contributions must be submitted in English or French and must strictly adhere to the Aisthesis Guidelines. Only contributions compliant with Author Guidelines will be admitted to peer review. The Author Guidelines can be downloaded here.

Download the PDF of the Call (ENG)